Startups · Entrepreneurship

What has been your "scariest" moment with your startup and what was the solution?

Satvinder Singh Web and Graphic Designer at Designer ios

September 30th, 2016

We have all gotten many of those moments building our businesses. Those moments led to breakthrough situations with the business. What was yours?

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

October 1st, 2016

I co-founded a startup in 1996 and sold 51% two years later to an interactive company for notes. After the 2000 crash they could not find more capital so we reversed the transaction and took the company back. They had moved the company to another city, had about 30 employees, $ 2 mm in outstanding debt (and one was the hosting company who was ready to shut it off), and nothing in the bank. Faced with certain failure, I called my original investor to convince him to help recapitalize the company.  The worst thing he could have said was "no". If he said no, our position was not materially worse than not asking at all.  Any nobody was writing checks those days.  So I strapped on, went to see him, and he said yes. By doing this, we saved the company, his original investment, and built a hell of a business we sold 4 years later for a 300% return for him and some left to management and employees. You cannot let your own fear of failure shut you off from thinking strategically. 

Steve Getman Partner/CTO/CIO at Flash Point Communications

September 30th, 2016

Had a business back in the 90s that we were in negotiations to merge with a privately held company. Despite a patent pending and executed non-disclosure/non-compete agreements, they decided to steal the idea and our employees and go off on their own. We sued them for theft of trade secrets. Scariest moment was being served a countersuit naming me personally for $56M. (I was in my 20s at the time and had little experience in well..anything.)

Sad to say, this didn't lead to a breakthrough. The suit consumed us for several years, we won a money judgement but were not granted an injunction. While the suit was in process, our patent was granted, so we spent all the money we won suing them for patent infringement. They went out of business less than a month before our trial date.  

Moral of the story - Greed destroyed value for all sides in this case. Remember, this was the 1990s .com boom when investors were throwing money at any sort of internet play. In my opinion we had a better idea than most. Had we all just gotten along and executed on the business, everyone would have likely made a lot of money.

Chicke Fitzgerald

October 1st, 2016

It wasn't this startup, it was my first one.  It was the day that I knew that if we didn't complete our first funding round, we would have to let everyone go, as we couldn't meet payroll.  I was literally on my face in a hotel room in San Francisco, praying.  Fortunately God showed up as did my angel.